Bike Saviours Build-a-Bike: Day 2 – Bike Saviours – Tempe, AZ – 11.18.2015

This is a day-to-day account of my first build-a-bike. Read Day 1 first.

Day 2.

Time: 2 hours 1 minute

Was helped by: Nate

Worked on: Wheels


First thing I did was get my 1979 Schwinn Varsity Sport from the back room and put it on the stand. I was so happy to see it again! Then I had to get my Bike Worksheet from this binder. This is where everyone’s worksheets go. The binder is in a shelf full of movies, which reminds me….


There’s a big screen TV in Bike Saviours, so you can watch a movie while you work. Just try to keep it appropriate. Don’t pick anything like Chappelle’s Show… but who would do that? Oops!


This is the tool board I was talking about last week. There’s one by every work station. These are most of the tools you will need while building a bike. Except for a few big tools, having your own tool board means you don’t have to share and wait for tools to free-up, and everything is very organized, easy to find and makes cleaning up after yourself a breeze.


The tools are named which makes life so much easier for those of us that don’t have clue.


Following the worksheet’s instructions, I knew the task for this workday was wheels. First step was removing the front wheel. After that I didn’t know what to do. The worksheet tells you which steps come next, but I didn’t know what most of the parts named were. Nate is showing me all the parts and talking me through all the steps.


After removing all the parts in the hub, there were 20 tiny, dirty, greasy metal balls. These make up the ball bearings. It’s best to do this on your baking pan, located on your tool board, so that you don’t lose any balls when they come rolling out of the hub. However, there was so much old grease they were not going anywhere. Nate told me to count them, that way I would know if I lost any during the cleaning process. It is super important that we get them all back in. Before putting it all back together though, I had to clean all the pieces and the hub. The amount of old sticky brown/black grease was unbelievable!


Next step was putting it all back together. A good tip, from Nate again, was to divide the balls into two groups, so I made two groups of 10 beads each. Once you put all the grease in the hub, which looks like red vaseline, it’s hard to see how many of the balls you have put in there. If they are divided from the get-go you know how many to put on each side of the hub, even though you can’t really see. So easy! Nate helped me put the axle and cone back in so that I wouldn’t push all the beads back out and have to start from the beginning. It was a tense time, for me, but it all worked out great!


Next was checking if the wheel was out-of-true. We used a truing stand. You place the wheel on the stand, as if it were an upside down bike fork, and then spin!


As the wheel spins those little arms in the bottom will show you if the wheel needs truing. Turns out my wheel is good so we are done with the front! Just have to reinstall it and then start from the top with the rear wheel.

The rear wheel has the cassette. To remove it I needed at park tool freewheel remover. Clamp the tool on the clamper, place the cassette still attached to the wheel on the tool...

The rear wheel has the cassette. To remove it I needed a special tool, freewheel remover. The tool looks like a bolt I guess. Clamp the special tool, and then fit the cassette to it…


Then turn the wheel, lefty loosey, till you basically unscrew the wheel off the cassette.


Surprise! The cassette was super filthy too, but other than that in excellent condition. Up to now I haven’t had to replace a thing on this 36 year-old bike! We just soaked the cassette in diluted Simple Green and let it sit in there while we worked on the rear hub.


See what I mean when I say it’s dirty. The balls didn’t even fall out of the hub into the baking pan! I used a long skinny metal stick, a discarded spoke perhaps, to push them out. The rear balls were bigger and there were 18 of them, instead of 20. Just like the front wheel, I counted them, cleaned them and divided them into two groups. Then cleaned the hub for quite some time. Lots of degreaser.


While cleaning and rebuilding this happened. The Bike Saviours Clown Race! Five timed laps around the work table on the runt bike… in a packed shop mind you!


Ok now time to clean the cassette and put it back on the wheel. I wiped the chain guide, which apparently is a very nice feature, and all the grime came right off. I took this photo before I cleaned the sprockets. Luckily the Simple Green makes this a fairly easy job. We put the cassette back on the same way we took it off.


Rob, who was there building some wheels, helped me get my cassette super clean with a metal-bristle brush in between the sprockets. Thanks Rob!

And these are my hands after it was all done. The picture doesn't really capture the filth, nevertheless I was very proud of my dirty hands!

And these are my hands after it was all done. The picture doesn’t really capture the grime as well as I remember it. I was very proud of my dirty hands! Even with all the help from staff and friends, I got very frustrated at times. It’s hard for me to not “get it” right away. But by the end of the day I was proud of myself for taking on the challenge of doing something that doesn’t come naturally, and now I am one day closer to riding my bike!

This is all I did on Day 2. Apperently 2 hours for all this work is pretty good. I was lucky one of my best friends was volunteering ;) Thanks Nate!

This is all I did on Day 2. Apparently two hours for all this work is pretty good. I have to thank my good friend Nate for all his help. He is a great bike mechanic who works at Rage Cycles and volunteers at Bike Saviours when his schedule permits.

So I am done with wheels! I am definitely going to need new tires, but I guess that is done at another point. Trust the worksheet!

Come back next Thursday for Day 3.